Dolmadakias. Dolmades. Dolmas. Simply put – Greek stuffed grape leaves.
I love these little things! I mean, just look at them. So cute and so flavorful. Little stuffed pockets of rice mixed with fragrant herbs… all rolled inside a grape leaf.
And bonus! They’re vegan! But you can add minced meat to them if you’d like. They go both ways. (Wink.) They’re your perfect dinner party hor d’oeuvre.
What guest wants to eat something from that frozen box of “Fridays” appetizers anyway?! Plus, They’re SO EASY to make!
The first time I ever ate a dolma I was with my parents. We went to a Mediterranean grill restaurant across from a Laser Tag building in my hometown. I was 10. I never in my childhood life seen anything like it.
I was a little nervous to try something different but went ahead and stuffed the whole thing in my mouth (God forbid I should have taken one bite first – choking hazard! – these things are usually a two bite delicacy) and I immediately fell in love with them.
Years pass, I end up moving to Greece and now I can stuff my face with loads of them. I figure I may as well learn how to make them at home, since every time we go out to eat I order a plate of dolmas. Or two. Don’t judge. They’re delicious.
So I finally got the nerve to make these things because, let’s be honest, they look pretty intimidating to make.
Surprise! They’re not! They’re SUPER easy! You just need to know exactly what to get to make them. And that’s why I’m here to help you out!
We went to our local organic farmers market in Chania (this farmers market is amazing!!) and stumbled upon a lady with a giant heap of wild herbs in front of her; all laid out and scrambled on a table, right next to a pile of ready-blanched grape leaves.
I figured, THIS woman knows how to make dolmas. (Duh. Of course she does. She’s Greek.)
I watched her in amazement as she picked through the pile of herbs; she knew exactly what she was picking! She probably had over twenty different kinds of wild herbs. It was pretty fun to watch, I wont lie. And of course, they’re all wild and organic! It seriously couldn’t get any better than that!
After informing her what I wanted to make, she immediately grabbed several bags and went to work with picking me fresh, organic, wild herbs along with instructions on how to make dolmas.
She also showed me how to roll them. Here’s how you roll:
(I find that pictures are easier to follow than my instructions… so please follow photos below)
Now of course there are many ways to make these little bundles of joy.
You can add ground lamb meat or keep it out (that’s what I did), and you can add different kinds of herbs. Play around with it… and if you do, let me know what you come up with in the comments below!
But for now, I’m going to give you the easy, basic “gold-standard” recipe. Straight from a Greek lady. Enjoy!